Stakeholder: Essentially Contested or Just Confused? [Book Review]

Journal of Business Ethics 108 (3):285-298 (2012)
Abstract
The concept of the ‘stakeholder’ has become central to business, yet there is no common consensus as to what the concept of a stakeholder means, with hundreds of different published definitions suggested. Whilst every concept is liable to be contested, for stakeholder research, this is problematic for both theoretical and empirical analysis. This article explores whether this lack of consensus is conceptual confusion, which would benefit from further debate to try to reach a higher degree of elucidation, or whether the stakeholder concept is essentially contested, rendering the quest to seek a singular definition unfeasible. The theory of essentially contested concepts was proposed by Gallie (Proc Aristot Soc 56:167–198, 1956 ). The seven criteria Gallie prescribes for evaluating essentially contested concepts are applied to the stakeholder concept. The analysis suggests that this concept is an essentially contested concept and this explains the degree of definitional variation.
Keywords Stakeholder  Stakeholder definitions  Essentially contested concepts
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-011-1090-8
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References found in this work BETA
R. Edward Freeman (1994). The Politics of Stakeholder Theory. Business Ethics Quarterly 4 (4):409-421.
R. Edward Freeman (1994). The Politics of Stakeholder Theory. Business Ethics Quarterly 4 (4):409-421.

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Citations of this work BETA
O. Enyinna (2013). Is Stakeholder Theory Really Ethical? African Journal of Business Ethics 7 (2):79.

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R. Edward Freeman (1994). The Politics of Stakeholder Theory. Business Ethics Quarterly 4 (4):409-421.
R. Edward Freeman (1994). The Politics of Stakeholder Theory. Business Ethics Quarterly 4 (4):409-421.
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W. B. Gallie (1955). Essentially Contested Concepts. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 56 (1):167 - 198.
David Saiia & Vananh le (2009). A Map Leading to Less Waste. Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society 20:302-313.

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